Sri Kannan Swami was born five years after his sister passed away. Hence, his parents nurtured him with excessive care and complete attention. Sri Kannan Swami would accompany his father to Srirangam Periashramam, the main seat of the Andavan Ashramam, several times every year.
After his return to Thirukudanthai, the young Kannan Swami would play a game with other young boys, in which he would don the role of an acharya. He would tie his clothes up to his knee and carry a stick to resemble the dress of a renunciate tridandi-sannyasi. He would proclaim himself as Srimad Andavan and act like a sannyasi. He would carry water inside a dried coconut shell and distribute it to the other boys in the same manner as he had watched Srimad Therazhandur Andavan distribute theertham, with both his eyes focussed in one direction. He played these games without the knowledge of his father.
When Kannan Swami was ten, his infant brother who was just 10 months passed away due to an illness. After this, his father became even more protective of him.
Sri Kannan Swami had so much respect for his father that he would not stand in front of him. Even the thought of speaking face-to-face with his father was very daunting for him. Hence his friends too would not visit him when his father was present, because everyone respected his father in the community.
But young Kannan Swami had limitless devotion and affection for Sri Aravamudhan the presiding Divya-desham deity of Thirukudanthai. However, his father would not allow him to take part in the festivals freely like other children: hence, he was not even allowed to have a dip in the Kaveri like other children. Even when Kannan Swami set out to participate in certain festivals such as Theppotsavam, his father would send his mother immediately to escort him back home. Later, Sri Kannan Swami had often mentioned to his well-wishers that he may have had more freedom as a child if his brother had continued to live.
However, whatever restrictions were imposed on Kannan Swami outside the house were more than made up by what his father taught him at home. Sri Padmamabachar Swami personally taught him the four thousand Divya-prabandhams of the azhwars. Before the age of fourteen, Kannan Swami had already mastered the entire Divya-prabandham, and became a leading member of the adhyapaka-ghosti and a dear servant of Sri Aravamudhan, who is considered to be ‘Dravida-sruti-darshakan’ (the Lord who reveals the Dravida-veda or the Divya-prabandhas). He also learned many Vedic shastras under the tutelage of Sri Seshasayee in Kottaiyur.
Later, Sri Padmamabachar Swami sent his son to Raja Patashala in Kamakshi Josyar Street, where he learnt different shastras. He also studied tarka, mimamsa and vyakarana under Devanagar Vilaga Swami. His fellow student was Sri Seshadhriyachar, the son of the famous U. Ve. Navaneetham Swami. He also qualified for Sanskrit Shiromani from ThiruvaiyAru Sanskrit college.
Whenever Srimad Kadanthethi Andavan (Nammandavan) or Srimad Akkur Andavan (Engalandavan) used to visit Thirukkudanthai during their respective times, Sri Kannan Swami would undertake kalakshepams of various shastras under their lotus feet. During one such visit, Srimad Engalandavan performed Sri Kannan Swami’s atma-samarpanam (the sacrament of ritual surrender) in the shrine of Aravamudhan Perumal at Thirukudanthai. .
Sri Kannan Swami started performing many wonderful kainkaryams to Divya-desham perumals even before he had been anointed as Srimad Andavan. Sri Kannan Swami used to support an old woman who donated and made many gifts to various Divya-desham perumals by writing her books of accounts. The woman had gifted a golden ‘sarangam’ (bow) and golden thiruman-kappu for Sri Aravamudan. For Sri Thiruvinnagarappan, she had donated a golden garland made of tulasi and saligramam. Once she donated a 56 k.g silver armour (velli-kavacham) for Aravamudhan’s Garuda-vahanam (the Garuda mount on which the Lord was carried during festivals). After this particular service, the woman was fondly called ‘Garuda-vahana patti’ by the locals, and Kannan Swami considered it his good fortune to serve her during her divine kainkaryams to the Lord.Sri